Research Article

Research Data Management Services and Strategic Planning in Libraries Today: A Longitudinal Study

  • Elise Gowen (The Pennsylvania State University)
  • John J. Meier orcid logo (The Pennsylvania State University)


INTRODUCTION Research data services have been adopted by many academic libraries. This study tracked the changes in research data management services and staffing among Association of American Universities (AAU) libraries over the past 5 years and compared them to the libraries’ goals for research data management (RDM) in their strategic plan. METHODS This quantitative study examined libraries at the 60 U.S. AAU institutions. In order to examine longitudinal changes, portions of Briney (2015a) were used as a basis for measuring data librarian staffing and services. These trends were compared to the contemporary strategic priorities of libraries interviewed by Meier (2016), as well as against strategic plans of 2014 and 2019 available online. RESULTS & DISCUSSION While there have been modest increases in libraries in the sample population offering data services, most of those gains have been among the libraries that did not consider RDM a priority in 2014. Interestingly, some of the libraries that mentioned RDM as a priority in 2014 have lost data librarian positions. Over half of the libraries in this study now provide or support a data repository. Many library strategic plans that mentioned RDM as an explicit goal 5 years ago now no longer mention it. CONCLUSION Data librarian positions, data services, and data repositories have now become common features of large research university libraries. However, research data services are no longer as prominent in many library strategic plans at institutions where such services are more established, and libraries instead seem to be moving on to the work of rethinking the nature of the services or expanding them.



Keywords: research data management, data services, strategic plans, data librarians

How to Cite:

Gowen, E. & Meier, J. J., (2020) “Research Data Management Services and Strategic Planning in Libraries Today: A Longitudinal Study”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 8(1), eP2336. doi:

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Published on
18 Apr 2020
Peer Reviewed